An Islamic rights advocacy group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called the attention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to alleged threats made by town criers loyal to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu, who warned voters to stay at home if their votes would not go to the party
According to MURIC, the threat is similar to that made by Lagos State Parks Management Committee Chairman, Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo for which NHRC invited him.
The Islamic human rights body, therefore, asked the organisation to invite the chairman of the PDP in Enugu for threatening other candidates.
This was revealed in a statement issued on Monday, 27th March, 2023 by the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement read, “The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the gubernatorial election held in Enugu State on Saturday 18th March, 2023, Chief Frank Nweke Jr has rejected the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Peter Mbah, as the winner and governor-elect.
"Nweke complained of the use of 'violence, thuggery, intimidation, use of divisive sentiments, and the weaponization of poverty against our people, which the Peoples Democratic Party deployed in the course of the campaign and the elections reflect the desperation of the party to hold on to power against the will of the people'.
"But most especially, the candidate complained bitterly of the use of town criers by the PDP. He said, 'Very early in the morning of Saturday, March 18, town criers travelled through several communities in Enugu state ordering anyone who would not vote in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party to stay home' (https://saharareporters.com/2023/03/24/enugu-gov-poll-apga-candidate-nweke-jr-rejects-outcome-says-town-criers-threatened).
"If what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, the chairman of the PDP in Enugu State must be invited by the NHRC the same way the latter invited MC Oluomo in Lagos for telling voters to stay at home if they would not vote the ruling party in the state. Anything to the contrary is hypocricy.
"Reports reaching us also indicate that Fred Ajudua of the PDP allegedly threatened voters in Delta State to stay at home if they were not voting PDP. He reportedly told voters in Ibuzo, Delta State, 'If you are not voting PDP, stay in your house' (https://newsdiaryonline.com/nigeria-beyond-the-elections/;https://www.thecable.ng/nigeria-beyond-the-elections).
"We recall our statement of 21st March, 2023 entitled 'Allow Police To Do Its Job: MURIC Tells NHRC' in which we advised NHRC to leave Oluomo of Lagos alone since the police had already invited him. But the chicken now appears to have come home to roost with the proliferation of stay-at-home warnings in other parts of the country.
"For NHRC to manifest objectivity and retain its dignity, it must drop its earlier invitation to Oluomo and allow the police to handle him or invite all elements involved in stay-at-home warnings during the last elections. Only thus can the Commission remain credible.
"NHRC's focus on Lagos is worrisome when similar threats were issued in other parts of the country around the same time."